A visitor to Scotland in the Eighteenth century observed 'a Scots funeral
to be merrier than an English wedding.' Certainly there is plenty evidence
that Scots had a great capacity to combine death and merriment and a
funeral was indeed a revel. There is the story of a Highland funeral where
the mourners had mourned so effectively, with over-much strong drink, that
they arrived at the kirk minus the body of the deceased!
The story of the Laird of Garscadden from 'Reminincences of Scottish Life
and Character' (Dean Ramsay 1857) is worth recalling as it shows that
death was no hindrance to merriment. The Laird had been entertaining a
large number of friends in his country house - a night of much food,
hilarity and strong drink. Midnight came and went. Wine and stories filled
the night. When a guest crashed from his chair the servants put him to bed
if they could revive him. About four in the morning a guest happened to
glance below the table and saw that his host was lying prostrate, not
looking at all well. The guest turned to a neighbour.
'Whit maks Garscadden luik sae gash? ( look so pale)
The man held his finger to his lips 'Whist, whist, no a wird ti the ithers.
It's a corp aneth the bord. Garscadden been deid twa-thrie oors an he,
hislane, wadna hae likit his daith fir ti spyle the merriement.'
Such an event is unlikely to happen in Twenty-First century Scotland!
Death brings thoughts of Heaven (and Hell), so appropriately this week's
recipe is for Paradise Squares - a heavenly treat for earthly palates.
Ingredients : Pastry :- 6 oz (175 g) plain flour; 2 oz (50 g) sugar; 4 oz
(100 g) margarine 1/2 egg
Filling :- 3 oz (75 g) margarine; 3 oz (75 g) caster
sugar; 1 egg; 3 oz (75 g) currants; 2 oz (50 g) chopped cherries; 2 oz (50
g) ground almonds; 2.5 oz (60 g) ground rice; 3 drops vanilla essence
Rub margarine into flour, add sugar and bind with egg. Roll out to fit a
swiss roll tin. Cream margarine and sugar, add egg and other ingredients
gradually. Smooth over pastry base. bake at 350 def F, 180 deg C, gas mark
4. for one hour.